Chargé Sleeper to the Secretary of State.
Habana, September 1, 1906.
Sir: In continuation of legation dispatch No. 165 of the 30th ultimo, relative to the insurrection, I have the honor to advise the department that the situation at this writing appears more gloomy, and the possibility of an early settlement more remote.
The offer of amnesty made by the Government on the 27th ultimo has not been taken advantage of to the extent hoped for, and the rebels appear to be daily receiving new adhesions, while the appeals of the Government have met with no enthusiastic response on the part of the people. The commercial element generally takes a pessimistic view of the situation, which is undeniably bad, all new operations having been suspended, only absolutely necessary business being transacted, and all loans to tobacco and sugar planters being refused by the banks.
Disquieting rumors were received here yesterday from Santiago and Camaguey provinces, in both of which uprisings are said to have occurred, but I have been as yet unable to verify these reports officially.
If this information is true, it means that the revolt is general throughout the island, and that an exceedingly serious condition of affairs confronts the Government.
In Pinar del Rio, Guerra has carefully avoided a battle, and it appears to be his intention to cross the hills to the north, describe a flanking movement eastward on the other side of the range, and when sufficiently powerful to make a dash for Habana Province.
From verbal information from recent arrivals from Santa Clara Province the situation there has grown worse, the whole central portion between the cities of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos and the latter toward Sagua la Grande, being overrun with insurrectionists. In this province Gen. Juan Bravo, a man of some prominence, has recently risen in revolt.
In the province of Habana, the Government surprised and defeated the insurrectionists under Asbert, inflicting upon him a loss of 20 killed and wounded, the casualties of the Government being very small.
I inclose herewith Asbert’s interview in “La Discusion.”
In a recent conversation with a Cuban gentleman, who claims to be well informed on the questions of the day, I was told that the Government had requested the veterans of Santiago to take the field in its behalf, and that they had replied—a number of them at least—that they would prefer to appoint a committee to come to Habana [Page 465]and endeavor to effect a settlement between the two parties. Somewhat later in the day I received Mr. Holaday’s telegram confirming this information, and this morning’s Daily Telegraph publishes the fact that General Cebreco called at the palace and suggested to the President the appointment of a committee of veterans to discuss peace terms with the rebels.
I confirm on the overleaf my telegram of August 30, and inclose clippings from Daily Telegraph relative to interview.
My informant also told me that the political leaders of the two parties were anxious to avoid the mediation of the aforesaid veterans and desired to come to some understanding, if possible, on the following basis:
- That the municipalities should be constituted as they were previous to the elections.
- This Congress should enact an electoral law, guaranteeing a minority representation and that both parties shall have equal representation in the cabinet.
I cite the above merely as an example of one of the many rumors current.
I inclose a translation of Doctor O’Farrill’s note to this legation of even date, presenting an optimistic view of the situation.
I beg to inclose herewith various clippings from Habana newspapers touching on the situation.
I have, etc.
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
P. S.—I have just received a telegram from the consul at Santiago de Cuba, reading as follows:
Rural Guards surrounded Songo Thursday night and arrested Urbano Sanchez, who it is claimed was endeavoring to get the people Arecus neighborhood to take up arms against the government. He was brought to this city. No disturbances have occurred here in this province, but agitators are working and trouble may be expected unless the insurrection is quelled soon. Holaday.